7 Generous College Donations (With Insane Strings Attached)

Colleges, universities and even online schools often ask for and receive donations from private individuals, companies and former students that they use for various improvements to the campus. While most donations are given to the schools with the acknowledgment that the money will be used as they see fit, a few eccentric donors have made sure specific strings were attached to their money so as to make sure it was used exactly how they wished no matter how insane it may seem to others.

7. A Toilet Full of Inspiration


Just don’t forget the danger of thinking too much: hemorrhoids.

Venture capitalist and businessman Brad Feld sought to give back to the university program that had worked so well for him, while at the same time inspiring future generations of students to excel even in their most vulnerable moments like streaking and losing at Beer Pong. After his donation was rejected from his own alma mater MIT, Feld waited for the perfect opportunity to arise which came at the University of Colorado’s newly constructed technology annex. Feld gave the school $25,000 under the condition that he have a plaque erected outside of the brand new men’s restroom featuring his name and the appropriately inspirational quote: “The best ideas often come at inconvenient times – don’t ever close your mind to them.” So the next time a great idea pops into your head from out of nowhere while dropping a deuce, remember to thank Brad Feld and don’t forget to flush.

6. A.E. Pillsbury Hates Women


Look at the happy misogynist!

Albert Enoch Pillsbury served as the Attorney General of Massachusettes way back in the 1890s and was the driving force behind the establishment of the NAACP despite being white and terrible at Basketball. When he died in 1931, Pillsbury bequeathed a total of $100,000 to four different colleges; Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and Yale who all clearly needed it more than the millions of starving Depression-era Americans. Such generosity came with a catch however as for every advance Pillsbury made for black people, he became more determined to hamstring women and nip that whole feminist movement in the bud. To be allowed to accept the donation, each college had to agree to use the money toward “creating or developing sound public opinion and action on the subject of anti-feminism” and create curriculum designed to keep women barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Who knew the Pillsbury Doughboy could be such a misogynist?

5. Wealthy Dogs Call Auburn Home


We imagine this was a typical day at the Ritchey house

Eleanor Ritchey was the granddaughter of the founder of the Quaker State Refining Corporation and as the heiress of that sizable company fortune, she owned a large ranch populated only by herself and 150 dogs. When she died in 1968, she willed her entire $4.5 million estate to her dogs, as crazy heiresses do, which was to be split evenly amongst them and when they died, transferred to Auburn University. Naturally her family contested the ludicrous will, but because her dogs evidently had very good legal representation by the Bark, Woof, & Buttsniff law firm, the family managed to only come away with about 30% of the fortune while the rest literally went to the dogs. As a condition for Auburn eventually getting the canines’ share however, the university was ordered to take responsibility for all 150 tail-waggers, look after them, and even find them good homes elsewhere; a bit of a slap in the face to a college who has as its mascot a member of the cat family.

4. Arabian Horses Are Grrreat!


Early recipes for corn flakes were meatier. It was a different time.

Cereal giant W.K. Kellogg had a certain love affair with Arabian horses and he wanted to rest of the world to fall in love with them too. To this end, he purchased a 377 acre ranch in the middle of California and collected a vast quantity of only the best specimens the majestic species had to offer. After a few years, Kellogg seemingly got bored of the horses and donated the entire ranch to the University of California and over the course of the next 20 years, the ranch found itself in the hands of the state government, the army, and then back to Kellogg’s foundation. Eventually in 1949, the foundation donated the land and all of the horses to the California Polytechnic Institute to help them establish a more southern campus to the one in San Luis Obispo. But there was a catch. For receiving the gift of the land, the new CalPoly Pomona University must maintain the ranch and the large population of Arabian horses, as well as the weekly shows designed to show off the grace and beauty of the animals which Pomona performs to this very day.

3. Donor Needs Love In The Afterlife

It’s not uncommon for philanthropists to fund a scholarship rather than giving a school a flat sum of money to do as they see fit. Just such a scholarship has been offered at Indiana University for a number of years, funded by a donor who had since passed on. This particular scholarship came with an important stipulation however that required the student who won the monetary award travel to a cemetery in nearby Bloomington once a year and place flowers on the donor’s grave as a simple sign of respect. After enforcing the morbid rule for a many years, the university eventually phased out that clause in the scholarship, which no doubt angered the original donor who is now often seen haunting the campus at Indiana.

2. Don’t You Dare Ask Where It’s From!


We’re just going to assume the money’s from Scarlett Johansson.

In 2009 numerous large cash donations ranging from $1 million to $10 million started landing in the inboxes of a number of colleges around the country from a mysterious anonymous donor. In total, the schools received about $70 million and each one had to adhere to a couple of conditions before the money could be accepted. First, each college had to be led by a female president and second, on receipt of the huge windfall, each college was forced to promise – in writing – to never attempt to investigate or find out the shy donor’s identity. There are a number of theories floating around the internet as to who the donor may be, including some kind of “women’s giving circle”; a very generous but antithetical criminal; and even the goddess of giving herself, Oprah Winfrey. Whatever filthy rich philanthropist donated all that money, this is one mystery university eggheads will have to resist deciphering for a long time to come.

1. How About a Brothel Instead?


We probably couldn’t have handled the awesomeness of a Cambridge brothel.

Francis Crick, famed English molecular biologist and Nobel Prize winner for discovering the DNA molecule, was offered a fellowship (a senior office in British Universities) at the newly opened Churchill College, a constituent college of Cambridge University. However Crick, a staunch and rabid atheist, only accepted the honor on the basis that a chapel would never be built at Churchill, a supposed center of science and technology. Much to his chagrin though, a donation was later made to the school for the sole purpose of establishing a place of worship on her campus which was accepted and Crick’s Nightmare was built. Anticipating Crick’s tempter tantrum, Winston Churchill himself (the chairman) attempted to smooth things over by advising him that no one need enter the chapel unless they wished to do so and thus the building could simply be ignored. Crick replied to that letter with a donation to the school of 10 guineas for the establishment of a brothel to operate under the same logic which, sadly for future generations of Churchill’s students, was denied.

Matthew Hayden is an experienced freelance sports and comedy writer and all around great guy. You may have seen his work at Cracked, Gunaxin, and now of course thebestcolleges.org, assuming you read the above article instead of simply scrolling to the end. You can contact him at matthayden@surewest.net

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